Reborn in death by Mondli Makhanya (City Press), 16 October 2016

17 October 2016

The voice on the other side of the phone was crackling with fear:

“UFezeka lona. Lestory enesibhalayo asilona iqiniso. Amanga wodwa [This is Fezeka. The story you are about to write is not true. It is a total lie].”

The hysterical person went on to insist that Jacob Zuma had not raped her and if the Sunday Times published the story, she would sue our heads off.

After a long and rapid monologue in which she stressed that no rape charge bearing her name existed, she eventually let me get a word in.

No-fee universities will not serve us well by Nasima Badsha (BDlive), 05 October 2016

6 October 2016

THE South African higher education system, despite all the challenges that it faces, remains the envy of the African continent. Of the 16 founder members of the recently established African Research Universities Alliance, six are from SA.

Our universities attract students from across the globe and, in particular, from the Southern African Development Community. In 2013, 53,800 students from the region were studying at South African universities, with a further 11,922 coming from elsewhere in Africa.

Universities need introspection by Nomalanga Mkhize (Dispatch Live), 04 October 2016

5 October 2016

It has been a turbulent two weeks at South African campuses as the fees issue re-emerged with vigour.

Universities have pointed fingers at the state, which has under-funded higher education for the past 20 years.

Establishing a Fees Commission is a waste of time.

It is self-evident that the average South African household cannot afford to send a child to university at an annual cost of R80000 – whether by going into debt or by some other means.

The philosopher as functionary: an open letter to David Benatar by Aragorn Eloff

30 September 2016

It is hard to overestimate the impact of the French student uprisings of May 1968 on the philosophy of the so-called post-68 generation, that group of politically awakened academics that included, among many others, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Michel Foucault, Alain Badiou and Jacques Ranciere.

The Mandela Foundation’s verdict on the Mandela era: it failed … by David Everatt (The Conversation), 29 September 2016

30 September 2016

In a little-heralded move in 2015, the Nelson Mandela Foundation released a “position paper” on race and identity. It was written by the Foundation’s CEO Sello Hatang and archivist Verne Harris.

Sadly, it triggered little debate, possibly overtaken by #Rhodesmustfall and #feesmustfall, the subsequent political fallout and rise of Fallist movements. This is ironic, given that the purpose of the paper seemed to be re-positioning the Foundation to be a part of the segment of civil society that regards 1990-1994 as a moment of failure.

South African student protests are about much more than just #feesmustfall by Africa Pilot (The Conversation), 27 October 2015

28 September 2016

Sembene Ousmane’s harrowing novel God’s Bits of Wood has been on my mind a lot lately. It explores the political dynamics underpinning the 1947 railway workers’ strike in Dakar, Senegal.

The novel’s potency lies in more than its analysis of the workers’ oppression. Ousmane crafts an intersectional examination of the strike’s socioeconomic implications. He weaves his plot cleverly around the themes of gender and sexual relations as well as the dismantling of patriarchal arrogance and complacency. All of this means that you can’t read the novel from a single perspective.

Who’s afraid of Gandhi? The politics of statuary in Africa by Dilip M Menon (wionews.com), 27 September 2014

27 September 2016

In April 2015, the statue of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in Gandhi Square, Johannesburg was almost covered with white paint by a young protestor before he was arrested. The previous months had seen a sustained agitation at the University of Cape Town for the taking down of the statue of Sir Cecil Rhodes - the imperialist and racist benefactor of the University. The statue came to stand in for a colonialism yet to end.

A Single Migration From Africa Populated the World, Studies Find by Carl Zimmer (New York Times), 21 September 2016

26 September 2016

Modern humans evolved in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. But how did our species go on to populate the rest of the globe?

The question, one of the biggest in studies of human evolution, has intrigued scientists for decades. In a series of extraordinary genetic analyses published on Wednesday, researchers believe they have found an answer.

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